By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's basketball team traveled to Defiance, Ohio, for a mid-week clash with conference-rival Defiance College on Wednesday, Jan. 8. After knocking off a tough Transylvania team last weekend, the Beavers were looking to extend their win streak to two games and they did just that. Bluffton led for the majority of the game, but it went down to the wire as expected in the rivalry clash as the Beavers found themselves on top, 68-64. Bluffton improved to 7-5 overall and 3-2 in the Heartland Conference, while Defiance fell to 7-5 overall and 2-3 in the HCAC.
The home team would get on the board first when Micaiah Cox dropped one in to make it 2-0 Yellow Jackets. Both teams traded buckets early on in the contest but the Beavers took the lead when Andrew Renner (Cairo/Bath) knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 16-15 in favor of the good guys with under 10 minutes to play. Bluffton would take the lead back late en route to a huge 68-64 victory over "that other purple school up north."
Due to a sluggish start offensively, Bluffton found itself in an early 14-10 hole when Defiance's David Perkins would get to the hole and lay one in with 13:09 on the clock. However, the visitors would not give in, using a Zeddie Pollock (Mogodore) three ball to make the score 21-15 with under nine minutes left in the stanza. The Beavers controlled much of the first half, taking a 37-30 lead in the break.
Following the break, Bluffton would push the lead to 10 when Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) got to the cup and dropped one in to make it 45-35 with 15:44 left in the game. The home team would not go away though, coming all the way back to tie it at 49 when Owen Hiegel hit a jumper with 11:33 to play.
The Beavers responded with a Dezman Brown (Elyria) trey that made the score 54-50 with under eight minutes left in the contest. The home team pulled within 62-60, but a huge Pollock three would extend the Beaver lead to 65-60 with 1:34 on the clock. After a few missed free throws by the Yellow Jackets, the good guys were able to close out the game with a 68-64 victory.
Bluffton placed four players in double figures with Renner leading the way. He went for 22 points on 9-of-16 from the field and 2-of-7 from three-point land on the way to career point 1,000 as a Beaver! He stands at 1,007 following the victory at Defiance. Cosby netted 15 of his own on 6-of-16 shooting from the field and he also pulled down four rebounds. Isaiah Taylor (YellowSprings) and Brown combined for 23 points in the win, and Taylor grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds en route to his first career double-double while dishing out a team-high four assists.
Bluffton hit 25-of-59 (42.4 percent) from the field, including 8-of-23 (34.8 percent) from distance. The visitors pulled down 40 rebounds, compared to the home team's 33 caroms. The Beavers coughed the ball up 10 times, two more than the Jackets.
Bluffton will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 11, when they travel to Indiana to take on the Hanover College Panthers in an HCAC clash. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. with the women to follow at 4 p.m.